Savard in play, but he may not be a GM’s go-to guy

If you believe various NHL types, the chase for Marc Savard will feature as much speed as the slow-motion O.J. Simpson-Ford Bronco caper.

However, there are indications Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke may get some competition for the Boston Bruins centre, even though Burke has yet to dive in with all guns blazing, à la his pursuit a year ago for Savard’s former linemate, Phil Kessel. Calgary Flames GM Darryl Sutter might be looking to reunite Savard with another of his ex-wingers, Jarome Iginla, now that he decided to close out the Ollie Jokinen disaster with a buyout of winger Ales Kotalik.
At this point, though, Burke cannot be said to be in pursuit of Savard, who is available because the Bruins have extra bodies at centre. Burke refused to comment Monday and league sources indicate he is more inclined to check out a few potential free agents (defencemen Dan Hamhuis and Zbynek Michalek) and another potential trade target (Philadelphia Flyers forward Jeff Carter) before getting serious about Savard.

The Bruins veteran has a few too many question marks and a few too many years and dollars on his contract for any sensible GM to snap him up right away.

All Burke would say is that he is “looking at several things that may or may not come to fruition.” Word is he might take a run at Hamhuis if Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero cannot sign him before he becomes a free agent on Thursday. Failing that, there is Michalek, although some think the veteran defenceman might have his eye on the Ottawa Senators, who employ his younger brother Milan.

The Senators have also come up in regard to Savard, who has a no-trade clause in that enormous contract. Apparently, Savard is willing to waive the clause for either Ottawa or Toronto because he and his wife want to move closer to family in Ontario.

This would put Sutter in a tough spot since Calgary is quite a hike from Savard’s home fires. Then again, Sutter is getting accustomed to tight spots thanks to a series of ill-advised deals.

In the worst of those deals, Sutter sent the perennial underachiever Jokinen and popular forward Brandon Proust to the New York Rangers for two more underachievers, Kotalik and Christopher Higgins. If Sutter, who was desperately trying to get the Flames in the playoffs, had simply hung on to Jokinen, it would have been a wash in offence (Jokinen had 10 points in 20 games in March and April, while Kotalik and Higgins combined for seven.) Then he could have bid Jokinen farewell as a free agent on Thursday with no damage to his salary-cap space.

But now Sutter has to buy out Kotalik, who has two years left on his contract at $3-million (all currency U.S.) a year. Kotalik was put on waivers Monday for that purpose along with some other NHL rejects (Senators forward Jonathan Cheechoo, Phoenix Coyotes centrePetteri Nokelainen and defenceman Jim Vandermeer and Florida Panthers defenceman Ville Koistinen). The buyout will cost $4-million but Sutter will have to live with a cap hit of $1-million in each of the next four years. Talk about a GM in need of a home run.

However, even if Savard might eventually agree to a second tour with the Flames he is no guaranteed home run. Savard may be a point-a-game player but he is also 31 years old and coming off a severe concussion caused by the infamous hit by Matt Cooke of the Penguins. Throw in a contract that calls for a salary of $7-million for the next two years with a cap hit of $4-million for the next four and you can see why Burke, at least, might be looking at other options first.

17 Responses to Savard in play, but he may not be a GM’s go-to guy

  1. PatsLeafs says:

    calgary is a mess

  2. LeafsneedSteen says:

    How good can Savard really be if Suter is interested in him?

    Calgary ran Savard out of town when they shipped him to Atlanta why would Savard give them the time of day?

  3. cam7777 says:

    Ah, I love how quickly we forget that Savard has only waived his clause for two teams, and that the list will revert to 1 team on Thursday.

  4. albertateams says:

    I doubt Sutter buys out Kotalik. I think this is just to push him to go the KHL route or hes going to be playing in Abottsford. Still that Jokinen deal was just brutal.

    Even if Savard wanted to come to Calgary (I doubt it) The flames would have to send salary the other way so it just doesn't make any sense. It would be nice to have Savard but I wouldn't want to give up anything important for him. The Flames really need to go after Spezza, I think he would really be that missing piece on offense for the Flames. There are quite a few rumors out there on this most center around Regehr and others going the other way. 

    Calgary: Regher, Langkow, Pick/Prospect
    Ottawa: Spezza

    This is contingent on Regher waiving his NTC. Sairch could be substituted but then Ottawa would want more valuable picks or prospects. As long as its not Backlund I would like the trade.

    Backlund Spezza Iginla
    Hagman Stajan Bourque
    Dawes UFA  Moss
    Glencross UFA Sutter
    Bouwmeester White
    Sarich Gio
    Staios Pelech


    It would make for a pretty dynamic top six and make there roster younger.

  5. bodangles87 says:

    I feel like a child counting down the days until Christmas. New Year, New Leafs. Cheers to leaf nation!

  6. Boston_Bruins says:

    Ottawa and Toronto are just speculated to be those teams. No one has come out and said that they are.


    It has been reported by many sources, that MTL is also on his list…


    Do you live in Calgary?

  9. reinjosh says:

    No it hasn't…

  10. reinjosh says:

    Yeah, lots of rumors linking Spezza and Calgary. It makes sense from Calgary's end, Spezza would be perfect for Iggy. Sutter would definitely be making a huge statement getting Spezza. Plus the team would have a number 1 and number 2 center for the first time in ages.

    I would however say Backlund is almost a must. I can't see Ottawa doing the deal without him included unfortunate as it is.


    Ya it has.. google it.

  12. reinjosh says:

    Burke is playing things cool. According to McKenzie he has no sense of urgency. He knows the longer he waits, the easier it will be to get Savard. He is playing things smart right now. Mid July is when McKenzie expects stuff to go down.

    He also says that Kulemin contract talks are going well and should be done relatively soon. He guesses 2.5 million or south of it but thats just speculation I think.

    Good news on both though.

  13. reinjosh says:

    show me. Because all the reputable sources have only stated Ottawa and Toronto before July 1st. Full NTC after July 1st and then the 5 teams July 1st 2011. I know you won't listen, but I'm going to try again.

    Its not like it really matters. With Gomez and Pleks and the salary cap problems you have that have already caused your loss of Halak for less than market price, you couldn't get him anyways.


    I just did… go onto Google and type Savard's NTC.. it comes up, I'm not saying its a respectable source but its out there.. I hope MTL doesn't get him, I do like Savard and hes a good player, but true MTL has Gomez and Plekanec, and I actully like them as the top two guys.. I'm just trying to point out theres more teams out there.. His NTC might say he what team he can go to and what year, but he still has the power/right to change it.. I also heard in the SUN papers PHILLY, CHI are also on his list.. Its all rumors at this point.. The only ones that know the REAL deal is Savard/agent and the GMs.. not Mckeinze.

  15. LeafsneedSteen says:

    And Montreal is really going after him because they don't have enough money locked up between Gomez and Plekanec.  Savard to the Habs makes a lot of sense.


    MTL will not get him, I'm just saying rumors have it, he has said he'll waive his NTC to go there.. I don't expect him to be traded there( unless its a soft trade ie S.Kostisyn and Pyatt). There would be no way the Habs could get rid of Gomez's contract.

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